"There was nothing that made Al Jolson happier than standing on the terrace of a skyscraper overlooking New York's theatre district,watching the lights flickering below. He would smile and say to whoever was with him,"Broadway - that's my street."

 

With the birth of the Twenties,when people first started talking about "The Jazz Age", Broadway was indeed Jolson's street. He belonged to it from the top of his shiny black hair to the soles of his equally shiny shoes.

 

If he had been born in a trunk in a theatre dressing room instead of a poor Russian town, and if his ancestors had been acrobats instead of cantors, he couldn't have been more attached to the scene.

 

But if he belonged to Broadway, even more assuredly Broadway belonged to him. These were the days before mass communication when top men in all walks of life could strut through the streets unrecognised. But not Jolson. He was so famous he was mobbed wherever he went - when he left his dressing room, when he went to his own table at Lindys and when he bought his newspaper from the boy near the Times Square subway."

 

(from The Story of Al Jolson by Michael Freedland)